EP18 – The Acts You Need to See

Of the 150+ acts lined up to play this year’s Electric Picnic festival less than 40 could possibly be boxed off as ‘household names’. So, Kendrick Lamar, Ben Howard, George Ezra and Dua Lipa aside, who are the acts you should put a tick beside as ‘must sees’?

And of the host of rising Irish stars, who are the ones are shining so brightly you’ll need blacked-out Ray Bans when they take to the stage?

Long renowned as the ‘stage-to’ when it comes to Irish music festivals, Electric Picnic has worn the mantle of #IrishGlasto since the sad demise of Oxegen back in 2013. The star attraction of our Summer fest calendar, EP’s pulling power is on a par with the its Euro counterparts like Reading & Leeds, Primavera, Roskilde & co. No surprise then that each year, artists from across the full musical spectrum pitch up to purvey their wares on the much trod boards of Stradbally.

When it comes to the cream of the local crop though, EP is second to none in helping them rise to the top. In addition to the 2FM Play the Picnic and Other Voices stages, the legendary Body & Soul area returns again to celebrate its 15th landmark year as the innovative hub of the annual Summer hootenanny. Similarly, the Laois-based extravaganza will also play host to some of the hottest ‘on the cusp‘ acts from across the globe. Too many to mention, we give you a mix of the best from both at home and abroad.

Dalkey-native Sorcha Richardson has spent much of the past decade living amidst the clangour of NYC. Now back in Ireland, the Dubliner has spent much of this year gigging with stints at Castlepalooza and Longitude in the mix, along with an upcoming support slot to Saint Sister. At the recent all female We’ve Only Just Begun fest in Whelan’s she was the name on everybody’s lips, so bagging a coveted spot at EP was surely inevitable. With a lot of mileage clocked up on the fest circuit and a new album on the cards, 2018 is looking like a bumper year for the Irish singer/songwriter.  For fans of Daughter, Wildwood Kin, Wyvern Lingo.

The name Gundelach first graced these pages back in Winter 2015 when the Norwegian wove a compelling web in the form of his single Spiders.

Nearly three years later and the Oslo-based curator of club and dance has released a debut album Baltus, partnered on a handful of singles with fellow Norwegian rising star ARY, and played several festivals across Europe; and all that before landing square in the middle of EP 18. Signed to UTA and under the wing of renowned Norwegian manager Glenn Larsen, Kai Gundelach’s star is firmly on an upward trajectory. Norwegians aren’t shy when it comes to their music, and festival goers can expect a strong delivery replete with trademark otherworldliness and arpeggiators.

Hak Baker started in the music game as a a fourteen year old member of the B.O.M.B. Squad grime collective before going solo and taking his music in a completely new direction.

These days the young Londoner is better known for his disarmingly honest lyrics paired with unadorned sounds, delivered with a canny mix of spoken word and boy next door storytelling.

Baker’s line in musical chat is a jumble of influences, taking in everything from ska to reggae and jazz. Bordering on genreless, when paired with the Eastender’s facetiousness and fact-laden story lines his songs veer into colourful musical diary territory. Although his sound delves deep into late 70s, early 80s soundscapes, it remains firmly in the present tense. Living life is front and centre of his schema. Revellers will party hard with this ebullient hard drinking, hard partying MisFit’.

22 year old Londoner Nilüfer Yanya purveys sleek, mellow, soulful indie with a jazz edge delivered with the same cool aplomb as her 80s predecessor Sade. Drawing on much introspection and seared with raw honesty, the young woman’s songs have a ‘nude’ no frills quality, all the more intensified by the rich, dark quality of her no-nonsense vocal delivery.

Already flagged by Guardian Music as ‘one to watch’ in 2017, Yanya gained serious musical currency when she was longlisted for the BBC’s Music Sound of 2018. Watch her ‘In Session’ with our FOTN neighbours BBC Music Introducing.

Nilüfer dropped her four-track Do You Like Pain EP in February from which the track ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ was released as a single. Direct, no-shit guitar driven jazz-indie fusion. As cool as Winehouse was at her age!

DervSwerve has been channelling our next featured act for over a year now.

Motions, Dublin duo Tom Daly and Dave Nulty, have taken a slowly, slowly approach to their music, drip feeding a small collection of carefully chosen singles before releasing their acclaimed debut The Late Night Calls EP back in February of this year. With support in spades from the doyens at 2FM and its alt side-kick 2XM, it came as no surprise to see these alt-rockers made the final cut of the now legendary 2FM Play the Picnic stage.

Motions produce a slick mix of gritty alt-rock with an atmospheric underlay of moody electronics, perfectly complemented by intense gravel-flecked vocals and life-stained lyrics. Fresh from a sold-out headliner at the Workman’s, expect a well honed performance flush with tight guitar riffs and powerful vocal delivery.

For lovers of sophisto-alt-rock with more than a passing hint of blue-eyed soul.

Shout outs also to two other up and coming Irish acts to have made the lineup – Cork lads The Elation who’ve been featured here before and Ratoath newbies Electric Shore who’ve honed a brand of electro tinged alt-rock to which we’re quite partial.

Gwenno Saunders, who goes by her first name, is a solo artist from Cardiff whose lyrical delivery is spliced between her native Welsh and her second language, the Cornish of her linguist and poet father Tim Saunders. Also a respected DJ and radio presenter, Gwenno, a firm favourite of BBC 6 Music, has been championed by fellow Welsh radio presenter Huw Stephens garnering a healthy dose of airplay on his BBC shows for both Radio 1 and Radio Cymru respectively.

Gwenno’s writing chops are exceptional – the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – but it is the marriage of both keen multi-lingual poesy with her idiosyncratic take on art pop/soft rock that make the Welsh woman’s compositions so special.

With a vibe akin to Cerys Matthews does Fleetwood Mac, Gwenno’s most recent album, ‘Le Kov’ – which means “the place of memory’ – is a masterclass in soft focus, blurry latter-day psych. The album, which is an exploration of Cornish identity, explores topics such as the protection of minority languages and post-Brexit isolation. Don’t expect a full on singalong, most Irish people can barely string three lines of Amhrán na bhFiann together never mind pick up the chorus of a full-technicolour Cornish post-punk psych. What you can expect is a bewitching colour-fest delivered with exquisite vocal precision.

A band that should really need no introduction is Fontaines DC.

Masters of ‘real-life’ rock, their music is intrinsically Dublin with a delivery that mixes Liberties garage with glowering Behan-esque spoken word. Far from morphing into parodies, the Dublin quintet play their muse to its and their best advantage, painting unfiltered pictures of a city past and present, bringing to life many of its colourful characters and not so colourful characteristics through rapier-like lyricism and explosive rock n roll.

Fontaines DC are a force to be reckoned with. Akin to The Pogues & Manics in their vibe and spirit, their take on rock is hard core dark like The Rolling Stones crossed with Thin Lizzy fronted by a 21st C Ronnie Drew. Playlisted by major radio players such as BBC 6 Music and 2FM, Fontaines DC are now also chowing down on music’s bigger stages, having cut their pub gig teeth far beyond the inner Dublin venues where they began. Expect all the superlatives – vital, urgent etc – given a boot up the a**e and then some. Theirs could possibly be the performance of the festival.

For lovers of early Manics when they still had some fuel in the tank.

Getting signed to Heavenly Recordings is always a clear indicator that an artist is on the up and up. Such is the case with Halifax-Liverpool natives The Orielles. Comprising the Hand sisters and their mate Henry Wade, this three-piece has made its mark on the Brit music scene and then some.

With elements of 70s psych, 80s ska, 90s indie and noughties god knows what all criss-crossing over each other it’s hard to pin-point exactly where this trio’s sound lies; but that’s a bloody good thing in our book. Not for them any samey, samey mainstreaminess. Instead they take their full spectrum vibe, add a dash of neo-wave and promptly fit their anything but square peg into a musically androgynous hole.

This year has already seen the release of their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, tracks from which will doubtless feature heavily in their set list. Expect loctite grooves, catchy vocal hooks, and boundless youthful NRG. Perfect ingredients for a top EP set.

And then …

It should go without saying that Irish acts such as ROE, Brand New Friend, Bitch Falcon, Dermot Kennedy, Hvmmingbyrd, Katie Laffan, Laoise, and Lilla Vargen et al are worthy of your time and support. There’s a raft of homegrown talent being showcased at EP 2018, so do please make some dates in your hectic festive diary to go along to the 2FM Play the Picnic, Other Voices, Rankin’s Wood and Body&Soul stages across the weekend to check out the best of our homies.

We’ll leave you music lovers with our EP Playlist featuring those artists included here plus a host of other mega artists who for reason of scale and sanity we couldn’t fit in here. To those of you travelling to EP 2018, we hope you have a glorious weekend and most of all, we hope you enjoy what is going to be the highlight of the Irish festival calendar. DervSwerve

HWCH 2018 – The Line Up

The annual showcase and schmooze that is Hard Working Class Heroes returns to Dublin town with a shiny new line up and a cast of conference delegates that will have its Chocolate Factory audience in their savvy thrall.

HWCH returns to the capital, once again taking up its regular parking spot over the last three ‘working’ days of September – Thurs 27th to Sat 29th incl. Its gargantuan appetite will consume the best part of central Dublin, when it takes up residence in five main city centre venues as well as the Chocolate Factory situated in nearby Kilmainham, wherein its conference will take place.

Fifty acts have been announced for HWCH 2018, ROE, AE MAK, THE WOOD BURNING SAVAGES & LAOISE among them. Selected by an independent panel of national and international industry professionals, these are artists deemed to be ‘export ready’. In fact, some like ROE, TWBS and AE Mak have already played international showcase festivals such as Eurosonic and The Great Escape.

The fifty were boiled down from an overall total of 600 applicants who submitted their music through First Music Contact’s ‘Breaking Tunes’ platform. Of the lucky fifty, over two thirds have not previously been showcased.

The Wood Burning Savages

Lives happen on the Friday and Saturday across five venues – Doyle’s, The Grand Social, Tengu, Tramline and The Workman’s.

Festival goers can expect fireworks from the likes of TWBS, Pillow Queens and New Pagans, while at the other end of the spectrum Galwegian Laoise and four-piece Wild Youth will bring their respective brands of alt-electro & RnB/Funk pop to the mix.

Other artists being featured over the two days include serial collaborator 1000 Beasts, eir Other Voices Open Call winner Maria Kelly, Sony-signed Dublin popper Tim Chadwick, bluesy bluegrass aficionado Leila Jane, ambient electro-experimenter Feather Beds and fast rising R&B/Hip Hop artist Damola.


The festival line up also features semi-seasoned pros such as ROE and AK Mak, both of whom have been raking up the airplays, streams and reviews both at home and across the sea, especially in the UK, as well as thought-provoking lyricist and pared-back instrumentalist Rosa Nutty.

In addition, it ushers in veritable newbies such as Cork three-piece True Tides fresh from a stint at home-county Indiependence and supporting DervSwerve fave Fenne Lilly, BBC Radio fave Kitt Philippa (whose received support from our very own Tom Robinson), and Jeff Buckley vocal-doppelganger, 22 year-old Sam Wickens.

The festival opening night is dedicated to some serious schmooze, with an artist/delegate networking event scheduled to take place in the Chocolate Factory. Skint musicians take note – free gig to all with a Breaking Tunes profile.

Ireland’s largest gathering of music industry professionals, the panel of delegates (announced at time of going to print) includes Molly O’Brien of Beggars Music, Almudena Heredero of Primavera Pro/Sound, Paul Jones of Rough Trade Records, Oskar Strajn of ESNS, Sarah Casey of UTA and Daniel Horitz of Lex Records. The conference will include workshops and panels focussing on key topics at the heart of cracking the tough nut that is the music industry.

For more information on Hard Working Class Heroes, log onto the website at http://hwch.net/ – details of tickets below.

To get to know some of the artists lined up to play this annual extravaganza, tune into our HWCH 2018 playlist here. Don’t forget to give us a follow on Twitter and/or Facebook! 🙂

Tickets via Eventbrite are priced as follows (excluding charges):

Delegate Ticket (Thursday, Friday & Saturday) €55  /  Live Ticket (Friday & Saturday) €35

Conference Ticket (Thursday, Friday & Saturday) €25 / Live Ticket (Friday/Saturday) €25

Single Venue Ticket €12.50 (only available on the door at live music venues)

HWCH18 Venues | The Workman’s ClubTramlineTenguDoyles and  The Grand Social


It Takes A Body&Soul Village

Body&Soul reveals programme for its legendary B&SVillage including full details of lineup. 

Heading into its 15th year as an integral part of the Electric Picnic festival, Body&Soul has unveiled the programme for its Body&Soul Village 2018 (see our playlist at the bottom of the page). Situated at the heart of the EP landscape, Body&Soul is a diverse creative hub where experimental art meets genre breaking music.

This year’s festival goers are in for rather a treat as on top of the cream of Irish rising stars, the Body&Soul stage has also attracted some of the best up and coming artists from abroad including Nashville-based trio The Brummies and Norwegian electro-experimenter Gundelach, whose music we’ve previously featured here on the blog.

Watch the video of his latest release feat. the gorgeous voice of fellow Norwegian artist ARY, who sadly won’t be accompanying Gundelach to Stradbally! Check out her music HERE.

Flying the flag for Ireland will be a host of bright young things including Fresh on the Net alumnus and Derry-native, pensive but perky-pink-popper ROE, whose music has also been featured by FOTN master-in-chief Tom Robinson on his BBC Introducing Mixtapes.

Hit play to check out this beyond-brilliant take on the evil that is Social Media trolling and online bullying here.

Other rising stars repping Ireland across the Body&Soul area will be turbo-charged Bitch Falcon, beyond eclectic Paddy Hanna, soulful poet David Keenan and synth-tastic Galwegian Laoise, whose electro-pop confections are honey to our musical palettes. Festival goers will also be treated to the evocative vocal of Little Wolf aka Lilla Vargen, indie-punk boss-gals Pillow Queens and the pensive electro-poetry of Ryan Vail.

In total, 100 acts will play across four stages – Body&Soul, EarthShip, Peace Pagoda and The Bandstand. Lucky EP ticketholders will also be able to enjoy the fine musical wines purveyed by the likes of dance-diva Soulé, mesmerising beat-makers Hvmmingbyrd, and dark-around-the-edges Sleep Thieves.

And if all that fails to satiate your appetite, punkitude is a dish best served by Fontaines DC, whose live video for Chequeless Reckless you can enjoy here.

We’ve ripped up a B&S playlist below … Get stuck in!

Here’s the full line up across all four stages located in the Body&Soul enclave:

Body & Soul Stage – Bad Bones / Barq / Bitch Falcon / Bon Voyage / Daithí / David Keenan / Fontaines D.C. / Gundelach / James Canty / Halo Maud / Hak Baker / Hvmmingbyrd / LAOISE / Lilla Vargen / O Emperor / Oscar Jerome / Orchid Collective / Paddy Hanna / Pillow Queens / ROE / R.S.A.G. / Ruby Empress / Ryan Vail / Sleep Thieves / Slow Place Like Home / Soulé / Super Extra Bonus Party / The Blue Notes / The Brummies / The Modern Strangers / Tracy Bruen / YOUNGR

Earthship Stage – 1000 Beasts / Baba / Beauty Sleep / Blackbird and Crow / Bobofunk / Bobby Basil / Dreaming of Jupiter / DJ Eamonn Barrett / Elaine Malone / Erica Cody / Fat Puppy / Happy Alone. / Jah Monk / Jazz Jam / Junior Brother / Kate Brennan Harding / Luka Palm / Mother DJs / Munky / Naughty Party / Parly B / Proper Micro NV / Rub a Dub Hi-Fi / Spice Bag / Soul Badger / Susie Q / SYLK / The Clockworks / Turf Softies / Will Softly / Worries Outernational

Peace Pagoda – AGorilla / Baz Hickey / Cáit / Davy Kehoe / Dream~Cycles / Melly / Maria Somerville / Neil Flynn / No Place Like Drone / Now You’re Swingin’ / R. Kitt / Rob Le Nan / Sarah Rossney / Soft Stone / Wastefellow / Zvuku

The Bandstand – Aine Duffy / As Humans / BIRDWOMAN / Cantina Bop / Cathy Flynn / Ciaran Moran / Club Comfort / Dreaming of Jupiter / Dublin Digital Radio / Generic People / H&G Creations / Jus Damien / Justyna Koss / Little One / Ophelia / Phraktal / PrYmary Colours / Reveller / Rosa Nutty / Supagreen Sound Machine / Tanjier / Trick Mist / VJ Jackson / Zapho

Our Body&Soul @ EP 18 playlist features tracks from a selection of the many great artists playing the B&S Village across the three days of EP18. Electric Picnic runs from 31st August to 2nd September in Stradbally, Co. Laois and is completely sold out.  To those of you with tickets, ENJOY!